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I'm gathering equipment on the cheap to start all grain brewing and looking at options for an HLT. A rectangular 48 quart cooler is about half the price as the customary 10 gallon Igloo everyone uses on Youtube. Anyone ever used one of these for an HLT? How'd it work out for you?

  • There is a bit of mixed meaning for "Hot Liquor Tank". Some people think it means just holding the hot water for a sparge and others use it to mean the Mash Tun. brewersfriend.com/2011/02/13/… Which are you doing? Mashing or just holding water? – farmersteve Jun 15 at 14:56
  • Hot water for sparge. If it holds heat correctly, I suppose it could work as a mash tun too. I'm probably just over thinking the whole thing but everyone seems to use the round igloos/rubbermaids. I'm just looking for a less expensive alternative. – HomeBrew Jun 15 at 15:37
  • Sure it would work. Just make sure it has pretty thick walls or you will lose temperature as the water drains out. Or stick a sous vide heater in there to maintain temperature. – farmersteve Jun 15 at 15:46
  • I'm contemplating filling the cooler up the night before and the putting a 1500W bucket heater in to bring it up to temp in the morning so I can heat strike water in the kettle at the same time the sparge is heating. I didn't know about the sous vide heater and really like the thermostat on it! I might go that route instead if the math (800 watts) works out. – HomeBrew Jun 15 at 18:18
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The shape of the cooler doesn't matter much.

I use a rectangular one for my mash, given the same insulation, they will hold the temperature the same. After 1.5 hour, I lose only 1 or 2°C (and I open the lid to mix the mash at least once).

Round tuns are practical since the lid can be screwed, they are more vertical and may have less dead space in the bottom (depending on how high is the valve location). Other than that, it is not worth paying extra money IMO.

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